College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: USC vs. UCLA (January 11, 2020)

College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: USC vs. UCLA (January 11, 2020) article feature image

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyger Campbell

Playing against the 2-3 zone is similar to facing a triple-option offense in football.

It takes time and practice to prepare, and for teams seeing it for the first time in a season, the results can be extreme…and usually not in a good way.

USC was absolutely flummoxed by “West Coast Syracuse” in its last game against Washington, but could that blowout actually present a perfect bounce-back opportunity for gamblers?

Let’s break down USC vs. UCLA.

College Basketball Odds & Picks

Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

USC at UCLA Odds

  • Spread: UCLA -1.5
  • Over/Under: 138.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

If this game had been played a week ago, USC would almost assuredly be laying two or three points in this spot. But after Washington completely shut down the Trojans in Seattle, the market has over-corrected in favor of the Bruins.

This is a quintessential rebuilding season for UCLA, now on its third coach in a little over 13 months. It will take time for Mick Cronin to recruit and develop the right kind of players for his defensive-minded system.

As of Saturday, UCLA looks out of sorts, particularly on offense. Losers of four of its last five, UCLA has failed to crack 75 points in any of those games, including a humbling loss to Cal State Fullerton at Pauley Pavilion.

The venue is really what is in question in this spot. When UCLA is rolling and packing its home arena, the venue is worthy of moving the line by five or six points. But this season, attendance has been underwhelming, and it will be far from a partisan crowd as cross-town fans sprinkle in more than a shake of Cardinal and Gold.

On the court, UCLA has failed to live up to Cronin’s defensive expectations. The Bruins’ overall stats vary from middling to downright awful:

  • Opp Points/Game (173rd)
  • Opp Effective FG % (250th)
  • Opp Shooting % (211th)
  • Opp Three Point % (336th)

The saving grace for the Bruins has been their rebounding prowess. Their defensive rebounding percentage checks in at 78.4%, good for 26th in the country and second in the Pac-12 behind Colorado. They’re even better on the offensive glass, reining in 12.1 per game (10th).

The importance of rebounding is why I’m on the Trojans in this spot. USC’s frontcourt tandem of Nick Rakocevic and Onyeka Okongwu account for 6.2 offensive boards per game on their own, and nearly average double-doubles individually. Without a significant edge in rebounding, the Bruins’ defense will let down the UCLA faithful.

Pick: USC +1.5

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